Over 6 lakh 'diyas' or earthen lamps illuminated Ayodhya on Friday as the three-day grand Deepotsav celebrations began in the holy city.
According to the figure released by the Uttar Pradesh, a total of 6,06,569 diyas were lit on Friday evening in Ayodhya to mark the Deepotsav celebrations.
The grand celebrations at Ayodhya saw the reenactment of the arrival of God Ram and Goddess Sita on their 'pushpak viman', a laser and sound show, cultural programmes on the eve of Diwali.
Ayodhya's 'Deepotsav' celebrations kickstarted from Friday afternoon itself when a grand coronation procession of Lord Ram started from Saket college in Ayodhya to reach the riverbank after covering a stretch of about five kilometres.
The procession had 11 tableaux, built on the Ramayana themes, participating in it.
The themes include Gurukul Shiksha, Ram-Sita Vivah, Kewat Prasang, Ram Darbaar, Shabri-Ram Milaap and Lanka Dahan among others. Besides the Saryu bank, the Ram Janmabhoomi, the site of upcoming Ram temple, was lit up by 11,000 earthen lamps in the evening, when a grand Aarti was held at the Saryu river after the sunset.
Earlier, the District Magistrate Anuj Kumar Jha told India Today TV that social distancing, entry restriction, sanitisation and security arrangements were made as per the order.
UP Governor Anandiben Patel, CM Yogi Adityanath attend Ayodhya's Deepotsav celebrations
Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath were present at the Ayodhya's Deepotsav celebrations on Friday, the first since the groundbreaking ceremony earlier this year of a Ram temple in the holy town.
"Our generation is not only fortunate to see the start of the construction of a Ram temple here but we also attended the historic event. In the struggle of 500 years, many saints passed away with a dream to see the start of construction. I thank PM Modi who is the one who implemented the ideology of Ram Rajya," Yogi Adityanath said while addressing the 'Deepotsav' event, news agency PTI reported.
"It is the dream of PM Modi to develop Ayodhya as Vedic Ramayana City and it should be the most beautiful. We are here to seek support of you all as to how it can be developed that it has glimpse of a Vedic city," CM Yogi Adityanath said.
Hailing the prime minister for India's fight against the coronavirus, Adityanath said, "We are fighting strongly under his (PM's) leadership and we will defeat the virus."
International airport, bus stand and more: CM Adityanath's Diwali gift to Ayodhya
Several new development projects were launched to mark the occasion.
As a special Diwali gift from the chief minister, Ayodhya will get an international airport project this time.
Other projects for people of Ayodhya include a modern sewage treatment plant to maintain the flow and cleanliness of the river. The pilgrim town will also have an international Ramlila Centre to be built at a cost of around Rs 3.47 crore, a 'Bhajan' site at Rs 19.02 crore, a Queen Heo Memorial Park for Rs 21.92 crore, a Ram Katha Gallery worth Rs 7.59 crore, the expansion of Ram Katha Park at Rs 2.75 crore and the beautification of Ram ki Paidi at Rs 12.65 crore, officials said.
Among development projects, the holy city will also have a modern bus stand (Rs 7.40 crore), a multi-level parking lot (Rs 16.44 crore) and the renovation of road and footpaths (Rs 8.40 crore) besides others, they said.
(With inputs from PTI)